The View from the Seven Highest Mountain Passes on Earth

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Image: Tomáš Ne?as

5. Khardung La – 5,359 m (17,577 ft)

The gateway to the Nubra valley, Khardung La is widely but mistakenly believed to be the highest motorable pass on earth. Despite a claim in the Guinness Book of Records that it attains an altitude of 5,682 m, a recent expedition measured it at 5,359 m (17,577 ft) using GPS, debunking a myth that may have arisen from a copying error of the height falsely claimed by the summit sign of 5,602 m.

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Image: Jordi Pons

Unpaved and narrow: Difficult and dangerous when two trucks meet head on.

Built in 1976, Khardung La was opened to motor vehicles in 1988 and has since seen many car and biking trips. Though the first stretch leading up to the path is paved, for large parts the roadway is loose rock, dirt and occasional snow melts, but even so is well maintained. It is after all an important supply route for India and historically lies on the major horse and camel caravan route from Leh to Kashgar.

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